Hospital District Higher-Ups On Way Out?


Now that Gov. Charlie Crist has dumped four members of the North Broward Hospital District’s governing board, the six-figure crowd that runs the public health care system should start dusting off their resumes. 

Sources at the district expect a shakeup of the administrative staff, who work for the commissioners. 

Such a shakeup could destabilize the district for months.  I wonder whether disruptions at the top could weaken the morale among staff members who deal with patients? 

The district uses tax money to run four public hospitals — Broward General, North Broward, Imperial Point and Coral Springs Medical Centers — and clinics.

Under federal and state investigations for inside dealing, the district needs a change of direction.

But sources who work at the district say it is not enough to get rid of district commissioners.  Some of the higher ups, who turned a blind eye to the machinations, have to go, too.

We’ll have to see if that happens.

Meanwhile, Crist appears be have made great choices.

Joel Gustafson, who I have known for years, was Republican when it wasn’t popular to be a Republican in the South.  He was one of Broward’s first GOP office holders, swept into the state House in 1967.

Most important, Gustafson is Broward’s Mr. Ethics.

He earned that title by being appointed to the state Commission on Ethics beginning in 1977 by three Democratic governors  — Reubin Askew, Bob Graham and Lawton Chiles.  After a short period off the commission, he received a fourth appointment in Nov. 2001 by Gov. Jeb Bush.  

If it is something the hospital district needs, it is an ethical compass. Gustafson can be that compass.

Clarence McKee has a long history of achievement in business, especially in the media.

clarence mckee

Clarence McKee

Jennifer Anderson also knows business, but from a public service perspective.  That is exactly what is needed at a public hospital district.

She is the president and chief executive officer of United Way of Broward County since 2008. Previously, she was the chief of staff at Florida Atlantic University.  

Jennifer Anderson

 Jennifer Anderson

Richard Paul-Hus impressed me in 2004 as a sober, sincere House candidate, who lost to state Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale. He’s a construction industry type.

8 Responses to “Hospital District Higher-Ups On Way Out?”

  1. Phil Heck says:

    Interesting about Gustafson. A commenter on Tom Francis’ New Times blog, Juice, called Gustafson a political hack. Nowhere in Francis’ post, “Power Play at Broward Health: Ethics-Minded Commissioners Purged by Charlie Crist” did Francis bother to mention Gustafson’s four terms on the state ethics commission or attempt to correct the commenter. Internet journalism gets worse and worse every day; I think it’s part of the problem in S. Florida. It’s good to read the facts for a change.

  2. Gee Wiz says:

    Gee Wiz, Phil Heck.
    You don’t realize that The New Times is about half fiction?

  3. Ethics 101 says:

    Francis and Bernstein…what’s the connection?

  4. gonzo says:

    is joe cobo still one of the board members? i would appreciate it if someone could answer this; thanks.

  5. Phil Heck says:

    @Gee Wiz

    I forgot.


    Cobo is still on the board of commissioners. He was appointed in 2007. Commissioners serve four year terms.

    I believe that Bernstein’s term had already expired.

  6. Judge Sirica says:

    One can hope that with four appointments, at least a couple won’t stand for business as usual. Crist couldn’t have gone to the trouble to make sure they had no scruples whatsoever.

    But Crist removed two members who (setting aside whatever else you want to say about Bernstein) would not stand for the ethical lapses, and kept two (Fernandez and Cobo) who are doing the machinating. Just how encouraging can that be?

    As for Cobo, what is the governor waiting for, the SA? The SA can decide whether to prosecute or not based on a ton of factors that have nothing to do with whether someone who has done what the Goldberg report details should continue to serve as a commissioner. Even if the SA closes the file, the governor has to decide whether someone who now recuses himself (finally) from everything having to do with the medical staff (gee, that would be a lot of the hospital’s business) and did what the Goldberg report says, should stay. When is he going to act on the report that the Board sent to him? Goren said the report should go to him because he has the power to remove Cobo. We’re still waiting, eight months later.

  7. John deGroot says:

    as usual, buddy is easily influenced by tall people

    FROM BUDDY: Which one of these folks are “tall people?” I’m not easily influenced by anybody.

    I do remember that when you were city editor of the Fort Lauderdale News you assigned me to interview Miss Tall America, who was 6 feet or something like that. I’m just over 5 feet 4 inches.

    I still have the glossy photo of me looking up at her.

  8. Judge Sirica says:

    What makes anyone think that Cobo, Fernandez, Calhoun, and four rookies who know nothing about hospitals, will clean out the executive suite? They have Nask fully trained and the Governor has just eliminated two thirds of the possible sources of opposition to the status quo.